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Renovation nearing completion at Geary

Roane officials making progress on strategic plan

March 4, 2011

SPENCER - Roane County Schools is continuing to work to help students achieve in the classroom and is continuing a massive renovation project at one of the county schools.

Roane Superintendent Steve Goffreda said the school system is continuing to work on its Five Year Strategic Plan strategies in order to increase student achievement, at an improvement rate exceeding average state growth, to meet established WESTEST2/Global21 curriculum standards, while increasing student attendance and exceeding state graduation rate standards.

"So far we have had a really productive school year," Goffreda said. "Over the past four to five months, our attendance rate has been up.

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Work continues on the addition to Geary Elementary/Middle School in Roane County. The project has been underway since June 2010 to expand classroom space at the school to better accommodate middle school students. The ground is being staked out for the 65 caissons that are being drilled by the large drilling rig. The caissons are designed to support the entire Geary Elementary/Middle School addition. In the foreground are the reinforcing steel cages that will be inserted into each hole with concrete being added later to help support the structure.

"We have found there is a high correlation between attendance and student achievement."

Work is also continuing at Geary Elementary/Middle School on a $5 million renovation project.

Roane County has six schools with a total student enrollment of 2,499. The schools include Geary Elementary/Middle (321), Reedy Elementary (126), Spencer Middle School (450), Spencer Elementary School (529), Walton Elementary/Middle School (388) and Roane County High School (685).

The goals the Roane County Schools Board of Education and Goffreda have laid out for the 2010-2011 school year include encouraging an increase in the percentage of non-college bound students taking post-secondary vocational training with a life skill/local industry driven curricula and vocational school programs as well as field trips to local employers and industries.

Other goals include coordinating the Respect and Protect Program throughout the school district creating unity and consistency within program levels.

A committee is currently looking into the feasibility/desirability of having student uniforms.

Goffreda said the schools are continually exploring alternate funding sources in order to expand educational, athletic and fitness opportunities for students.

The Roane County Board of Education wants to conduct an efficiency audit of the entire school system that will include finance, personnel and facilities in order to identify areas of potential cost containment as well as improve communication at all levels.

"The board's goals directly benefit the students," Goffreda said.

One of the other goals the board laid out was to find a qualified superintendent for the district. Goffreda has announced his intention to step down from the position after 13 years and return to his former position as Director of Student Services and Attendance. Goffreda has been the superintendent since July 1998.

The renovation of Geary School had been in the works for years as the school was originally designed as only an elementary school when it opened in the early 1980's and now has to accommodate over 100 middle school students since a consolidation in 1985-86.

The problems include science rooms that were not adequately equipped for lab experiments, special education classrooms that were too small, the music room was the stage in the multi-purpose room which is also used as the gym and lunchroom; and the gym space is inadequate and unsafe for physical education activities as well as regular sporting events.

The construction project, which is being mostly funded through the School Building Authority of West Virginia, includes five additional classrooms, a new gym and the installation of an elevator as well as a new sewage treatment facility.

District officials said the project was needed as the school was in the southern part of the county away from many of the other schools, making further consolidation impractical.

The project broke ground in June 2010, said Jerry Garner, Roane County Schools Director of Transportation, Facilities and Safety. Garner said windows are currently being added to the building and work is being done to the new entrance to the new addition.

"Currently, the outside of the building is 95 percent completed with brick," he said. "As soon as the windows are installed, the building will be heated so painting of the interior walls can be started by mid-February.

"The last part of the project is the new sewage treatment plant that will be installed after the students leave school on June 8."

The project is expected to be completed in July, Garner said.

"It will be open for the 2011-2012 school year," he said.



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